TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County commissioners voted on Wednesday to spend $20 million on sidewalks.

The money will come from federal “American Rescue Plan” funds.

John Sullivan lives in the Covington Gardens subdivision in southern Hillsborough County and has been complaining about the condition of the sidewalks in this area for some time. Specifically tree roots that are causing many sidewalks to buckle.

Sullivan said he tripped over the uneven sidewalk while walking his dog.

“My knees were bleeding, I bruised the palms of my hands and I came about this close to banging my face off the concrete,” Sullivan said.

People in his neighborhood have filed a number of complaints with the county, with no action. Wednesday, commission chair Kimberly Overman acknowledged the problem exists across the county.

“I know we get a lot emails regarding sidewalks,” Overman said. “I’ve been getting those since I got elected in 2018. That’s nothing new.”

She questioned if the federal funds could be better spent addressing a critical need with affordable housing.

“Especially since we have families that are literally finding themselves couch surfing to avoid evictions because they do not have places to go when they are notified that their rent is increasing at 6 to 8 hundred dollars a month,” Overman said.

Other commissioners agreed the housing crisis is a major problem for the county, but the sidewalk problem presents a health and safety concern in many neighborhoods.

“Year after year that we are number one, number two, always in the top ten for bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in this country,” commissioner Harry Cohen said.

Commissioners voted six to one in favor of spending the $20 million on sidewalks.

They will come back at a later date to approve a plan on how and where the money will be spent.